Genre Fiction: Contemporary romance
Blurb Kamali Danladi has sworn never to get married again. But his meddling mother is bent on hitching him to any eligible female that comes along to the next family gathering. There’s only one thing for it. Get fake-hitched to his executive assistant. If anyone is more averse to marriage than he is, it’s her. So they’ll be perfect together. Or at least, they’ll fake perfect together.
Ebun Forson doesn’t do families. She certainly doesn’t do festivities. So when she has to spend a week playing fiancée to her boss, how is she going to cope with the extensive Danladi kinsfolk without breaking out in hives? Her next shopping trip funded by the bonus he’s giving her should more than make up for the inconvenience.
However, she soon finds the real threat is to her heart. The dark and intense Kamali behaves as if he sees through to her soul, making her almost forget that this is all an act. In any case, someone with a past like hers doesn’t deserve a happy ever after, surely.
Bound to Favor is a story about learning to heal from emotional pain and finding love in the most unexpected places.
Dialogue Believable. Written in English with smatterings of Hausa.
Themes Abandonment, Family, Love, Betrayal and Mental Health.
Editing Needs better editing.
Plot Ebun, a 35-year-old woman was abandoned by her father as a child and raised by her mother alone in England. Against her mother’s advice, she seeks employment in a company in Nigeria in order to be closer to her father and her siblings whom she has never met.
Kamali is in his forties, a business tycoon and a widower whose bad experience with his wife, Toyin has put him off serious relationships. His mother is constantly matchmaking him with daughters of her friends. Kamali asks Ebun, his executive assistant to pose as his fiancée at a family wedding to get his mother off his case.
When real feelings for each other replaces acting, Ebun and Kamali have to figure out if they can get past the hurts from their pasts to forge a future together.
Our final review this year!
What worked? Bound to Favor is the fourth book in the Bound Series but can be read as a standalone book.
The trope – the pretend boyfriend/girlfriend to fool the family, who then becomes the real boyfriend/girlfriend is familiar. If you like this trope, listen to Lady B’s audio review of Dirim’s Man with a similar storyline.
The secretary playing the fiancée is played out now but Kiru introduced multi-layers of genuine talking points in the African culture into the plot. Bringing together two different characters (Kamali is family-oriented while Ebun has daddy issues, they also have cultural differences) and finding an acceptable middle ground was well done.
The book explores some serious themes like abandonment by a parent and the feelings of rejection in the child. It also talks about mental health issues like depression and touches on self-harm.
Mo I wish Kiru had elaborated on the “farming” issue. In the late 80s Nigerians would drop their children to be fostered by a white family, while this was supposed to be good for the child, it neglected the psychological effects of abandonment and racial issues.
Lady B What I like about this book is the end where the possibility of polygamy was explored as this is different from the norm. My favourite scenes and the scenes which I think were best written were towards the end when Kamali discovered Ebun’s secret with her ex, Jonah and had to wrestle with himself about what to do:
True love isn’t just about passion and desire. It is about showing empathy and affection through the trials of life.
Apart from the above, it’s pretty much your usual dominant male and doe-eyed woman romance novel trope. Expect steamy sex scenes that may make you roll your eyes.
What didn’t work?
Mo Loose ends; I wish Ebun had confronted her dad. Plus, the book started off slow, didn’t pick up pace till the plot twist towards the end.
Lady B This book started out really slowly and only picked up towards the end. It would have been a DNF if not for the blog. The end reads like a totally different book from the beginning and middle of the book as so much happened at the same time.
There was a lot of “telling” in this book which I found really strange as I have read other books by Kiru which didn’t have the same issue. The storytelling needed to be more nuanced.
The editing errors were also a distraction.
Page numbers 236.
Damage N999 on Okadabooks.
Have you read Bound to Favor? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.